As the world watches what seems like Moammar Gadhafi's last stand in Libya, a new trove of documents has emerged from WikiLeaks, shedding additional light on the North African dictator's foibles and, particularly, the lives of his spoiled offspring — nicknamed "Gadhafi Incorporated" by the U.S. State Department. Tellingly, a 2010 cable says that the Gadhafis have provided "enough dirt for a Libyan soap opera." Here, a guide to the more colorful of Gadhafi's eight children:
Gadhafi's second son has worked hard to portray himself as a "dedicated humanitarian and modernizer," says Theunis Bates at Aol News. But Saif is also known for his "hard-partying, womanizing ways." He reportedly paid Mariah Carey $1 million to sing four songs at a New Year's Eve party on the Caribbean island of St. Bart's in 2008 — later claiming it was his brother Muatassim who booked the singer. Saif is at the heart of the crackdown on Libyan protesters, warning this past Sunday that "rivers of blood" would flow down the streets of Tripoli.
The colonel's third son is, like his brothers, "notoriously ill-behaved," according to the WikiLeaks cables — often travelling to Europe to indulge in drugs and alcohol. A former professional soccer player, he spent a season with Italian team Perugia, before being kicked out for failing a drug test. Saadi is now a soldier, and was reportedly in charge of the bloody (and ultimately unsuccessful) crackdown on the Libyan city of Benghazi.Though he has angled to assume leadership of the country, the colonel has put his sons "on a succession high wire act," says one of the cables, "a calculated effort to prevent any one of them from authoritatively gaining the prize."
Gadhafi's fourth son was named national security adviser in 2006, and is widely considered to be the heir apparent to the family business. He has reportedly set up his own militia, funded with $1.2 billion of Libya's oil revenues. And Muatassim is, if anything, a harder partier than Saif. A year after the Mariah Carey controversy, Muatassim booked Beyoncé and Usher for another St. Bart's performance, spending millions on "copious amounts of alcohol" for his guests. Clearly, says Charles Homans at Foreign Policy, "the Gadhafi apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
Gadhafi's fifth son has a history of domestic violence against both his servants and his wife, Aline. Staff in a London hotel discovered Aline with a broken nose and other facial injuries in 2009 — but, even though Hannibal had already (suspiciously) fled the country, she claimed that she had been hurt in an accident. Hannibal was arrested in Switzerland in 2003 for beating two members of his staff. Diplomatic cables reveal that Libya threatened to withdraw billions of dollars from Swiss banks, and cut off oil supplies, if the country did not release him. Switzerland complied, and Hannibal was set free. In terms of the succession drama, says Michael Sheridan at The Australian, Hannibal is a "minor player."
A trained lawyer, Aisha Gadhafi is probably best known for serving on Saddam Hussein's defense team. But the Libyan beauty, known as "the Claudia Schiffer of North Africa," doesn't just defend dictators. She looks after their families, too. A cable notes that she acts as a "minder for the most troublesome" of her siblings. Aisha reportedly flew to London in 2009 to persuade Hannibal's wife, Aline, to tell British police the "accident" story, and was instrumental in getting the charges against Hannibal dropped in Switzerland. Several newspapers claimed she attempted to flee Libya for the nearby island of Malta this week — reports she has denied.
Sources: New York Times, Aol News, Yahoo News, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, The Australian, USA Today, Daily Telegraph
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